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Andersonville – from the 1876 Southern Historical Society Volume 1 by Dr. John William Jone


... of which Mr. Blaine says, "Libby pales into insignificance before Andersonville." We cannot better state the case than it has been done by a well known writer:
"The site of the prison at Andersonville—a point on the Southwestern railway, in Georgia—had been selected under an official order having reference to the following points: 'A healthy locality, plenty of pure, good water, a running stream, and, if possible, shade trees, and in the immediate neighborhood of grist and saw mills.' The pressure was so great at Richmond and the supplies so scant that prisoners were sent forward while the stockade was only about half finished. When the first instalment of prisoners arrived, there was no guard at Andersonville, and the little squad which had charge of them in the cars had to remain; and at no time did the guard, efficient and on duty, exceed fifteen hundred, to man the stockade, to guard, and to do general duty and afford relief and enforce discipline over thirty-four thousand prisoners." In regard to the sufferings and mortality among the prisoners at Andersonville, none of it arose from the unhealthiness of the locality. The food, though the same as that used by the Confederate soldiers—the bread, too, being corn—was different from that to which they had been accustomed, did not agree with them, and scurvy and diarrhoea prevailed to a considerable extent; neither disease, however, was the result of starvation. That some prisoners did not get their allowance, although a full supply was sent in, is true. But there not being a guard sufficient to attend to distribution, Federal prisoners were appointed, each having a certain number allotted to his charge, among whom it was his duty to see that every man got his portion, and, as an inducement, this prisoner had special favors and advantages. Upon complaint of those under him, he was broke and another selected; so that it only required good faith on the part of these head men, thus appointed, to insure to each man his share. But prisoners would often sell their rations for whiskey and tobacco, and would sell the clothes from their backs for either of them.
"In regard to the sanitary regulations, there were certain prescribed places and modes for the reception of all filth, and a sluice was made to carry it off; but the most abominable disregard was manifested of all sanitary regulations, and to such a degree that if a conspiracy had been entered into by a large number of the prisoners to cause the utmost filth and stench, it could not have accomplished a more disgusting result. Besides which there was a large number of atrocious villians, whose outrages in robbing, beating and murdering their fellow-prisoners must have been the cause, directly or remotely, of very many deaths and of an inconceivable amount of suffering. We must recollect that among thirty-four thousand prisoners, who had encountered the hardships of the fields of many battles, and had had wounds, there were many of delicate physique—many of respectability—to whom such self-created filth and such atrocious ruffianism would of itself cause despondency, disease and death; and when, in addition to this, was the conviction that the Federal War Department, perfectly cognizant of all this, had deliberately consigned them indefinitely to this condition, a consuming despair was superadded to all their other sufferings.
"The merits of Andersonville may be summed up by saying that it was of unquestioned healthfulness; it was large enough and had water enough, and could have been made tolerable for the number originally intended for it. It appears that the increase of that number was apparently a matter of necessity for the time; that other sites were selected and prepared with all possible dispatch; that the provisions were similar in amount and quality to those used by Confederate soldiers; that deficient means rendered a supply of clothing, tents and medicines scanty; that the rules of discipline and sanitary regulations of the prison, if complied with by the prisoners, would have secured to each a supply of food, and have averted almost, if not altogether, the filth and the ruffianism, which two causes, outside of unavoidable sickness, caused the great mass of suffering and mortality."
We will add the following article, written by Mr. L. M. Park, of La Grange, Georgia, who is personally known to us as a gentleman of unimpeachable character, and whose testimony is of the highest importance, as he speaks of what he saw himself. His article was originally written for the Southern Magazine, and while it contains some expressions which are bitter against the slanderers of our people, we will give it entire except the concluding paragraphs:

The "Rebel Prison Pen" at Andersonille, Georgia.

It is the duty of every lover of justice, when he sees a gross and injurious calumny put into circulation which he is able to refute from direct knowledge, to challenge it at once, and more especially if it is aimed at his own people, and meant to be used to their injury. It is true that in those regions for which these calumnies are prepared they are too generally preferred to the truth, even when  the truth is offered ; but the duty of affirming the truth is no less obligatory on those who are able to affirm it. It is with this view that the following paper is written to correct certain statements which recently appeared in Appleton's Journal professing to relate facts gleaned during a trip to Andersonville, Georgia, concerning the Confederate military prison there and the treatment of Federal prisoners. Instead of reviewing the article in detail, I will merely take up, one by one, the principal false statements. 

The Water The Prisoners Drank.

It was my fortune to be stationed at Andersonville almost from the first establishment of the prison until the removal to Millen, Georgia, or Camp Lawton, and I unhesitatingly pronounce the statement that "the prisoners had to drink the water which conveyed the offal of three camps and two large bakeries or kitchens off before it reached them," utterly false. The guards drank of the same water that quenched the prisoners' thirst, cooked their food with the same water, the same large stream or creek flowing through the encampment of guards and stockade, or prison-pen, as Northern writers sneeringly call it. The camps of the guards all faced the stream, while their sinks were far off in the rear, and orders were most strict not to muddy the water, much less defile it in any way. As to the offal of the bakeries, these being presided over by prisoners on parole, and who did the cooking for the entire prison, I cannot believe they would pollute the water their brother prisoners had to drink. As rapidly as they could the prisoners dug wells; in all some two hundred were dug, and purer, sweeter, colder water I never drank. Being on the staff of Captain Wirz, I had free access to the prison at all times day or night, and whenever I wished to quench my thirst, I went inside the prison and drank from one of these wells.

That Providential Spring, So-Called

That "providential spring" is an impious myth. I have been in the prisons thousands of times and never before heard it so called, except on reading the Herald's account of the anniversary of the Fulton street prayer meeting, when some pharisaically pious old brother recited a long rigmarole about this same "providential spring," and said it was planted there in direct answer to prayer. The gist of this spring tale is that when the prisoners' sickness and suffering from thirst was at its greatest, all at once, in the twinkling of an eye, this spring gushed forth in direct answer to prayer. Was ever such blasphemy? If such was the case, why does the spring still exist after it has answered its purpose? Do those rocks of Horeb struck by Moses to slake the children of Israelis thirst still exist, and at this late day the water gush forth ? It is all a cock and bull story, and unlike Sterne's, one of the poorest I ever heard.

Two Federal and Three Rebel Providential Springs

If my recollection serves me right, there was yet another of these same "providential springs" inside the stockade, and that Providence who sends the rain alike upon the just and the unjust gave unto the wicked and ungodly Rebels three of these "providential springs;" and I am sure he did not plant ours in answer to prayer, for we had just as soon drunk the branch water.

Reason Why There Were No Barracks

The Confederate Government has always been harshly assailed for its want of humanity in not having barracks to house the prisoners from the sun and rains. A more senseless hue and cry was never heard. How was it possible to saw timber into planks without saw-mills? There were two water-power mills distant three and six miles respectively, but such rude, primitive affairs undeserving the name. The nearest steam saw-mill was twenty-three miles distant (near Smithville), the next at Reynolds, about fifty miles distant; but the great bulk of the lumber used, fully twothirds, was brought from Gordon, a distance of eighty miles. Even if these mills had had the capacity to supply the necessary amount of lumber, it would still have been impossible to have provided barracks for the prisoners, as all the available engines of all the railroads in the Confederacy were taxed to their utmost capacity in transporting supplies for the army in the field and to the prisons. But few even of the officers of the guard had shanties, and these few were built of slabs and sheeting, which every one knows is the refuse of the mills. And even though there were no lack of lumber, when we remember that there was but one solitary manufactory of cut nails in the limits of the Confederacy, certainly no blame could be attached to the authorities for not furnishing more comfortable quarters for them. Nearly every building in the encampment was built of rough logs and covered with clap-boards split from the tree and held to their places by poles. The force of these statements is readily appreciated by every intelligent, unprejudiced mind. Besides, is it customary for any nation in time of war to treat their prisoners in a more humane manner than their own soldiers in the field? The inquiry becomes pertinent when we reflect that during the last two years of the war there was not a tent of any description to be found in any of the armies of the Confederacy, save such as were captured from the Federals.

How the Stockade Was Built

The stockade was built by the negroes belonging to the neighboring farms, either hired or pressed into service by the Confederate authorities to cut down the immense pine trees growing on the ground intended for the stockade; and these same trees were then cut into proper lengths and hewn upon the spot, and then planted in a ditch dug four feet deep to receive them. In this manner was the stockade made. Before it was completed the prisoners were forwarded in great numbers; and it being impossible to keep them in the cars, we had to put them in the completed end of the stockade and double the guards, and our whole force kept ever ready, day and night, for the slightest alarm; for at first we had only the shattered remnants of two regiments—the Twenty-sixth Alabama and the Fifty-fifth Georgia—numbering in all some three hundred and fifty men. This constituted the guard. .In about ten days thereafter my regiment—the First Georgia reserves, composed of young boys and old men (I was not sixteen), just organized—were sent to take the place of the Twenty-sixth Alabama and Fifty-fifth Georgia, so they could be sent to the front for duty. In a few days after our arrival the 2d, 3d and 4th Georgia reserves, all composed of lads and hoary-headed men (for we were reduced to the strait of "robbing the cradle and the grave for men to make soldiers of"), joined us as rapidly as they could be organized. The author of u Jaunt in the South" says" When the stockade was occupied in 1864, there was not a tree or blade of grass within it. Its redish sand was entirely barren, and not the smallest particle of green showed itself. But now the surface is covered completely with underbrush; a rich growth of bushes, trees and plants has covered the entire area, and where before was a dreary desert, there is now a wild and luxurious garden." I have before said the ground was covered with a pine forest, and the trees were utilized to build the stockade. Any one who has traveled south of Macon, Georgia, knows the pine is abundant, and in fact almost the only tree. In these forests the ground is covered by wire grass or other grass peculiar to them.

Why Anderson Was Selected

The main reasons for locating the prison at Andersonvillle, after its first being thought the most secure place in the Confederacy from Yankee cavalry raids, was the abundance of the water and the timber wherewith to construct the prison rapidly, and its being in the very heart of the grain-growing region of the South, which would make it less inconvenient to supply with provisions such a vast multitude.

Malicious Exhibition In Ohio State Capitol

In the summer of 1867, 1 set out for New York, being resolved to live no longer in the South, where negroes were being placed over us by Yankee bayonets, and in their vernacular, "de bottom rail wuz agittin' on de top er de fence." I traveled very leisurely, and stopped in every city of any note on my route, and kept eyes and ears wide open to drink in everything. I visited the Ohio State capitol at Columbus, and in the museum of curiosities were some small paper boxes carefully preserved in a glass case, containing what purported to have been the exact quality and quantity of rations issued per diem to each prisoner at Andersonville. In one box was about a pint of coarse unbolted meal, and in another about one tablespoonful of rice; and still another box with about two table spoonsful of black peas; and in a tiny little box was about one eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Underneath it is all explained, and says, among other things, "When rice was given, the peas were withheld; but when they had no rice, this kind of peas was given instead." It is needless to tell how my blood boiled at such an atrociously malicious and false exhibition. No wonder the hatred of the North is kept alive, and the bloody chasm continually widened by such wicked and uncharitable displays as this in one of the largest and most enlightened States in the Union. 

Rations To Guards and Prisoners The Same

I was for three months a clerk in the Commissary Department at Andersonville, and it was my business to weigh out rations for the guards and prisoners alike; and I solemnly assert that the prisoners got ounce for ounce and pound for pound of just the same quality and quantity of food as did the guards. The State authorities of Ohio ought to blush at thus traducing and slandering a fallen foe, and never in the first instance to have placed on exhibition for preservation as truth this fabrication of partisan hate. No Andersonville prisoner, unless he were lost to all sense of honor and shame, could make such a statement as that the rations were no more than the specimens shown.

Why the Prisoners Were Fed On Corn Bread

It has been charged as a crying shame upon the Confederacy by ignorant humanitarians that the South might at least have given the prisoners wheat bread occasionally; that they rarely ate corn bread in their own land, and that the bread we issued was made of meal so coarse and unsifted that it caused dysentery, thereby largely increasing the mortality. It is well known now that the South depends very largely, and with shame I confess it, on the West for her bread and bacon, and the cotton belt proper makes but little pretension of raising wheat, for the climate, it is said, is unsuited; so that the region round about Andersonville, being in the very heart of the cotton-growing section of Georgia, such a thing as feeding prisoners on flour was simply impossible, and the little flour that was obtained as tithes (one-tenth of all the crops raised was required by our Government) was devoted entirely to the use of the hospitals. Not only was this true of the territory immediately surrounding Andersonville, but of the whole South. Our own armies were unsupplied with flour, and perhaps not one family in fifty throughout the whole land enjoyed that luxury. The guards eat the same bread, or rather meal ; the bread eaten by the prisoners being baked by regular bakers (prisoners detailed for that purpose), while the guards did their own cooking. The meal, however, was the same, and both were unsifted and in truth very coarse. I ate the unsifted meal always.

The Dead Line

Another cry of holy horror is raised every time the "Dead Line" is mentioned, as if this dead line was prima facie evidence that the Southerners were as barbarous and cruel a race as ever blotted the face of earth. The civilized North, however, had the same barbarous dead line in their prisons, and in fact originated the device. It was a necessity with us, for we had never at any one time more than 1,200 to 1,500 guards in the four regiments fit for duty, and we had the keeping at one time of nearly 40,000 prisoners. By a concerted plan of onslaught they could at any time have scaled the walls, captured guards, and with the weapons of their keepers overrun the entire country, which, all south of Dalton, Georgia (100 miles north of Atlanta), was left wholly unprotected save by gray haired old men and young boys; and the women, children and negroes, who were the only hope for the making of crops for our armies, would have been helplessly at their mercy. This dead line was clearly defined, and consisted of stakes driven into the ground twenty feet from the stockade walls, and on these stakes was a three inch strip of plank nailed all around the inside of the prison. They were all notified that a step beyond this line was not prudent, and they were not so unwise as to venture beyond that limit.

Burial of Dead Prisoners

Speaking of the number and burial of the dead, the writer of the aforesaid "Jaunt" says: "The authorities at the stockade who had charge of the interment of the Federal dead did their work rudely, * * * digging pits and burying them in." Then he goes on: "It is hard to comprehend the true value of the number, 14,000; its magnitude eludes you. Fourteen thousand men would form a great mob, or a great army, or a great town. Here you have 14,000 men lying silently in a few acres. Within these bounds men have suffered as greatly as have any since the world began." In reply to this, I would merely say the burial was the work of prisoners paroled especially for the purpose, both the hauling of the bodies to the ground, the digging of the graves, and even the records of the names were all done by paroled prisoners. Books and a tent were provided solely for the latter purpose. Owing to the weakness of the guard, paroled prisoners were employed for this duty, as we could spare no men for the purpose ; and if the work was rudely or carelessly done the blame rests with them. As compensation they were given double rations and almost entire freedom. As to the number of the dead, we admit that it is great, but statistics show that more Southern soldiers died in Northern prisons than Northern soldiers in Southern prisons. In vain have Northern writers tried to disprove this fact.

Mortality No Greater Among the Prisoners Than Guard

Great as was the mortality among the prisoners, it was no greater in proportion to numbers than that of the guard, which is fully attested by the reports of the surgeon in charge. Besides, it is well known to every soul that can or does read that the Confederacy, through their agent, Judge Ould, made frequent and tireless efforts to get the United States Government, through their agent, General Butler, to exchange. But no, the Federal authorities would not hear to it; but acting on the avowed and promulgated idea that the South, being blockaded, could not recruit her armies from foreign lands, while to the North the whole of Europe was opened, they cruelly determined not to exchange, so as to detain our soldiers from again fighting them, well knowing that even then we had made our last conscription (17 to 50 years), and when those we had were killed up or in prison we would of course be overpowered. This was their cold-blooded, brutal policy; and closely did they stick to it, even till we were almost literally wiped out, while the men they had fighting us were in most part hired substitutes, drafted men, and foreign hirelings.

Principal Cause of Mortality

Farther, as to the mortality among the prisoners, let it be remembered that a majority of the deaths caused in our prisons was for want of proper medicines, which we did not have and could not get, except by blockade-running. Had the Federal Government any of the milk of human kindness in its composition, it would have acceded to our earnest request to take cotton in exchange for drugs to administer to their own dying soldiers. Their immense manufactories were lying idle for want of cotton, while we had it but could not use it. But as these self-same drugs and medicines would also be applied to the relief of our own sick soldiers, they determined it would be to their advantage to let all die alike, knowing the South could get no more men to supply the places of the sick, the dying, anl those they had imprisoned, so refused all overtures. After using every effort and exhausting every argument to get an exchange, we proposed—as we had no medicines and could get none, except what we accidentally ran in through the blockade from Europe (they being declared contraband, and always confiscated whenever captured by the blockading fleet) we proposed to turn over to them all their sick, without requiring man for man, but giving them absolutely up, if the United States would only send vessels for transporting them. This was done at Camp Lawton (Millen, Georgia), after the prison was removed from Andersonville for greater security.

Extracts From An Officer’s Diary.

From the private journal of a Confederate officer high in command, both at Andersonville and other Southern prisons, I glean the annexed facts, the first bearing directly upon the foregoing: "At one time an order came to Camp Lawton to prepare 2,000 men for exchange. The order from Richmond was to select first the wounded, next the oldest prisoners and the sickly, filling up with healthy men according to date. This party went first to Savannah, as arranged, but by some mistake the ships were at Charleston, and the poor wretches had to be taken there; and every one who knew the Southern railroads in those days, and the difficulty, or rather impossibility, to procure food for such a crowd along the road, will know what those poor fellows suffered. At Charleston they were refused, the commissioner declaring that ' he was not going to exchange able-bodied men for such miserable specimens of humanity.' (The term used was more brutal.) Finding him obdurate. Colonel Ould requested him to take them without exchange. This he refused with a sneering laugh, and the crowd was ordered back, Never did the writer of this witness such woe-begone countenances, in which misery and hopelessness were more strongly painted, than shown by those poor fellows on their return. And the curses leveled against the rulers who thus treated the defenders of their country were fearful, although certainly well deserved. As the stockade gate closed upon them the surgeon in charge said to the writer: 'Poor fellows! the world has closed upon more than half of them; this disappointment will be their death-knell.' His words proved true. Who murdered those men? Let history answer the question."

Clothing For Prisoners

Again I extract from the aforesaid journal: "The Northerners talk so much of the cruelty of the South to the Federal prisoners. At one time the unfortunate prisoners were almost without clothing, indeed some had hardly as much as common decency required. The South could not provide them, not being able to clothe their own men. An application was made to Seward. The reply was that 'the Federal Government did not supply clothing to prisoners of war.' Luckily for the poor fellows, a society in New York took the matter in hand, and several bales of clothing and cases of shoes were forwarded to Richmond, and divided, in proportion to numbers, among the prisons."

Cruelty To Prisoners

A great deal has been said of the cruelty to the prisoners inside the stockade. This so-called cruelty was inflicted by their own men. In every prison a police with a chief, all from the prisoners, was appointed to keep order, see to the enforcement of the regulations, and inquire into all offences, reporting through their chief to the Commandant. The punishments, such as were used in the Federal army, were ordered to be inflicted by these men, and some were of such a barbarous nature that they were prohibited with disgust by the Confederate officers, who substituted milder and more humane ones; and yet the former were in common practice in the Federal armies, as testified by all the prisoners. 


Among the numerous lies invented by Northerners, and actually still believed by some parties to this day, was the story that the Confederates used to hunt and worry prisoners with bloodhounds. Now it is well known that the breed of bloodhounds is nearly extinct in the South, and the large packs of those dogs alluded to by writers on this subject existed only in their imaginations, the prolific brains of penny-a-liners, whose vile and lying compositions even now abound in many so-called respectable New York papers. No public man is safe from their atrocious attacks. Among the various specimens of this dog alluded to by the above-named gentry, was the famous bloodhound of the Libby prison. The writer has often seen this formidable animal, which certainly in his youth must have been as fine a specimen of the kind as could be met anywhere, but unfortunately for the thrilling portion of the accounts of his doings at the time of the war, the poor beast, worn out from old age and with hardly a tooth in his head, wandered about a harmless, inoffensive creature. He was the property of the Commandant of the Libby, who kept him because he was a pet dog of his father's, and there the brute lived a pensioner in his old age. As to his worrying men, he could not, had he even tried, have worried a child. The other prisons had none, not even as pensioners. Among the records history gives us of using those dogs to hunt men, it is stated that during the Florida war a number of bloodhounds were imported by the Federal Government from Cuba to hunt the Indians out of the Everglades, and that numbers of the natives were worried to death by the ferocious beasts. The writer does not deny that when a prisoner got out of the stockade trying to escape, if no clue could be obtained of his whereabouts, a few mongrel or half-bred fox-hounds were used to track him, but the worrying was all done in the correspondent's own brain. However, it suited the times and made the article sell. The only complaint made is that this vile and malicious lie is still, if not believed, repeated by some who use it for party purposes, and thus help to keep up the bad feeling between the North and South. In reference to the causes of the mortality at Andersonville, we have the highest medical authority, testimony which the other side cannot impeach, for it was on his testimony (garbled and perverted, it is true) that they hung Captain Wirz. Dr. Joseph Jones, now a professor in the Medical College at New Orleans, and then one of the most distinguished surgeons in the Confederate service, was sent to Andersonville to inspect the prison and report on the causes of mortality at Andersonville. He has recently sent us a MS., from which we make the following extract: 

Statement of Dr. Joseph Jones.

In the specification of the first charge against Henry Wirz, formerly Commandant of the interior of the Confederate States military prison at Andersonville, during his trial before a special Military Commission, convened in accordance with Special Orders No. 453, War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, August 23d, 1865, the following is written:

"And the said Wirz, still pursuing his wicked purpose and still aiding in carrying out said conspiracy, did use and cause to be used, for the pretended purpose of vaccination, impure and poisonous matter, which said impure and poisonous matter was then and there, by the direction and order of said Wirz, maliciously, cruelly and wickedly deposited in the arms of many of the said prisoners, by reason of which large numbers of them—to wit: one hundred—lost the use of their arms; and many of them—to wit: about the number of two hundred—were so injured that soon thereafter they died; all of which he, the said Henry Wirz, well knew and maliciously intended, and, in aid of the then existing rebellion against the United States, with the view of weakening and impairing the armies of the United States; and in furtherance of the said conspiracy, and with full knowledge, consent and connivance of his co-conspirators aforesaid, he, the said Wirz, then and there did."

Among the co-conspirators specified in the charges were the surgeon of the post, Dr. White, and the surgeon in charge of the military prison hospital, R. R. Stevenson, Surgeon C. S. A. As the vaccinations were made in accordance with the orders of the Surgeon-General, C. S. A., and of the medical officers acting under his command, the charge of deliberately poisoning the Federal prisoners with vaccine matter, is a sweeping one; and whether intended so or not, affects every medical officer stationed at that post; and it appears to have been designed to go farther, and to affect the reputation of every one who held a commission in the Medical Department of the Confederate army.

The acts of those who once composed the Medical Department of the Confederate army, from the efficient and laborious Surgeon-General to the regimental and hospital officers, need no defence at
my hands. Time, with its unerring lines of historic truth, will embalm their heroic labors in the cause of suffering humanity, and will acknowledge their untiring efforts to ameliorate the most gigantic mass of human suffering that ever fell to the lot of a beleagured and distressed people.

The grand object of the trial and condemnation of Henry Wirz was the conviction and execution of President Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and other prominent men of the Confederacy, in order that " treason might be rendered forever odious and infamous."

In accordance with the direction of Dr. Samuel Preston Moore, formerly Surgeon-General, C. S. A., I instituted, during the months of August and September, 1864, a series of investigations on the diseases of the Federal prisoners confined in Camp Sumter, Andersonville, Georgia.

The report which I drew up for the use of the Medical Department of the Confederate army, contained a truthful representation of the sufferings of these prisoners, and at the same time gave an equally truthful view of the difficulties under which the medical officers labored, and of the distressed and beleaguered and desolated condition of the Southern States.

Shortly after the close of the civil war, this report, which had never been delivered to the Confederate authorities, on account of the destruction of all railroad communication with Richmond, Virginia, was suddenly seized by the agents of the United States Government conducting the trial of Henry Wirz. I have since learned that the United States authorities gained knowledge of the fact that I had inspected Andersonville through information clandestinely furnished by a distinguished member of the medical profession of the North, who, after the close of the war, had shared the hospitality of my own home.

It was with extreme pain that I contemplated the diversion of my labors, in the cause of medical science, from their true and legitimate object; and I addressed an earnest appeal, which accompanied the report, to the Judge-Advocate, Colonel N. P. Chipman, in which I used the following language:

"In justice to myself, as well as those most nearly connected with this investigation, I would respectfully call the attention of Colonel Chipman, Judge-Advocate, U. S. A., to the fact that the matter which is surrendered in obedience to the demands of a power from which there is no appeal, was prepared solely for the consideration of the Surgeon-General, C. S. A., and was designed to promote the cause of humanity and to advance the interests of the medical profession. This being granted, I feel assured that the Judge-Advocate will appreciate the deep pain which the anticipation gives me that these labors may be diverted from their original mission, and applied to the prosecution of criminal cases. The same principle which led me to endeavor to deal humanely and justly by these prisoners, and to make a truthful representation of their condition to the Medical Department of the Confederate States army, now actuates me in recording my belief that as far as my knowledge extends, there was no deliberate or willful design on the part of the Chief Executive, Jefferson Davis, and the highest authorities of the Confederate Government to injure the health and destroy the lives of these Federal prisoners. On the 21st of May, 1861, it was enacted by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 'that all prisoners of war taken, whether on land or sea, during the pending hostilities with the United States, should be transferred by the captors, from time to time, as often as convenient, to the Department of War; and it should be the duty of the Secretary of War, with the approval of the President, to issue such instructions to the Quartermaster-General and his subordinates as shall provide for the safe custody and sustenance of prisoners of war; and the rations furnished prisoners of war shall be the same in quantity and quality as those furnished enlisted men in the army of the Confederacy.' By act of February 17th, 1864, the Quartermaster-General was relieved of this duty, and the Commissary-General of Subsistence was ordered to provide for the sustenance of prisoners of war. According to General Orders No. 159, Adjutant and Inspector-General's office, ' Hospitals for prisoners of war are placed on the same footing as other Confederate States hospitals in all respects, and will be managed accordingly.'

"The Federal prisoners were removed to southwestern Georgia in the early part of 1864, not only to secure a place of confinement more remote than Richmond and other large towns from the operations of the United States forces, but also 'to secure a more abundant and easy supply of food.' As far as my experience extends, no person who had been reared on wheat bread, and who was held in captivity for any length of time, could retain his health and escape either scurvy or diarrhoea, if confined to the Confederate ration (issued to the soldiers in the field and hospital) of unbolted corn meal and bacon. The large armies of the Confederacy suffered more than once from scurvy; and as the war progressed, secondary hemorrhage and hospital gangrene became fearfully prevalent from the deteriorated condition of the systems of the troops, dependent on the prolonged use of salt meat; and but for the extra supplies received from home, and from the various State benevolent institutions,  scurvy and diarrhoea and dysentery would have been still farther prevalent.

"It was believed by the citizens of the Southern States that the Confederate authorities desired to effect a continuous and speedy exchange of prisoners of war in their hands on the ground that the retention of these soldiers in captivity was a great calamity, not only entailing heavy expenditure of the scanty means of subsistence, already insufficient to support their suffering, half-starved, half-clad and unpaid armies, struggling in the field with overwhelming numbers, and embarrassing their imperfect and dilapidated lines of communication, but also as depriving them of the services of a veteran army, fully equal to one-third the number actively engaged in the field; and the history of subsequent events have shown that the retention in captivity of the Confederate prisoners was one of the efficient causes of the final and complete overthrow of the Confederate Government. * * * * It is my honest belief that if the exhausted condition of the Confederate Government—with its bankrupt currency—with its retreating and constantly diminishing armies—with the apparent impossibility of filling up the vacancies by death and desertion and sickness, and of gathering a guard of reserves of sufficient strength to allow of the proper enlargement of the military prison—and with a country torn and bleeding along all its borders—with its starving women and children and old men, fleeing from the desolating march of contending armies, crowding the dilapidated and overburdened railroad lines, and adding to the distress and consuming the poor charities of those in the interior, who were harrassed by the loss of sons and brothers and husbands, and by the fearful visions of starvation and undefined misery—could be fully realized, much of the suffering of the Federal prisoners would be attributed to causes connected with the distressed condition of the Southern States."

The Judge-Advocate, N. P. Chipman, Colonel U. S. A., was not only deaf to this appeal, but in his final argument before the Military Commission, or so-called "Court" whilst excluding all portions of my testimony which related to the distressed condition of the Southern States, and the efforts of the medical officers and Confederate authorities to relieve the sufferings of these prisoners of war, deliberately endeavored to arouse the hatred of the entire North against the author of the report and the medical officers of the Confederate army. This statement will be manifest from the following quotation, which I extract from the "argument" of the Judge-Advocate before the "Court:"

"He had called into his counsels an eminent medical gentleman, of high attainments in his profession, and of loyalty to the Rebel Government unquestioned. Amid all the details in this terrible tragedy there seems to me none more heartless, wanton and void of humanity than that revealed by the Surgeon-General, to which I am about to refer. I quote now from the report of this same Dr. Joseph Jones, which he says (Record, p. 4384) was made in the interest of the Confederate Government for the use of the Medical Pepartment, in the view that no eye would see it but that of the Surgeon-General. 

"After a brief introduction to his report, and to show under what authority it was made, he quotes a letter from the Surgeon-General, dated Surgeon-General's office, Richmond, Virginia, August 6th, 1864. The letter is addressed to Surgeon I. H. White, in charge of the Hospital for Federal prisoners, Andersonville, Georgia, and is as follows: 

'"Sir—the field of pathological investigation afforded by the large collection of Federal prisoners in Georgia is of great extent and importance, and it is believed that results of value to the profession may be obtained by careful examination of the effects of disease upon a large body of men subjected to a decided change of climate and the circumstances peculiar to prison life. The surgeon in charge of the hospital for Federal prisoners, together with his assistants, will afford every facility to Surgeon Joseph Jones in the prosecution of the labors ordered by the Surgeon-General. The medical officers will assist in the performance of such post mortems as Dr. Jones may indicate, in order that this great field for pathological investigation may be explored for the benefit of the Medical Department of the Confederate States armies. " 'S. P. Moore, Surgeon-General.'

J. William Jones, Southern Historical Society, Volume 1 [January to June] (Richmond: Johns & Goolsby, Printers, 1876), 162-174.


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